Abstract/Details

Evaluating and improving the opposing expert safeguard against junk science


2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

In Daubert, the Supreme Court opined that opposing expert testimony is an effective safeguard against junk science in the courtroom. Although jurors maybe unable to identify flaws in scientific research without some assistance, social psychological research suggests that people can be trained to make more sophisticated judgments about scientific quality. Further, previous research demonstrated that an opposing expert who addresses the methodology of proffered expert testimony may not enable jurors to evaluate scientific validity. In three studies, I tested why this safeguard was ineffective using a variety of stimulus materials. In the first study, I examined the mediating effect of attitudes on juror decisions within the context of a sexual harassment trial. In the second study, I examined the moderating effect of the presentation of expert credentials on participant decisions regarding child suggestibility literature. In the third study, I tested several improvements to the safeguard using improvements designed to correct for the effects of attitudes and credential presentation on juror decisions within the context of a first-degree murder trial. I found that while opposing expert testimony may have potential as a safeguard, in its current form it is ineffective. That is, a traditional opposing expert caused jurors to be skeptical of all expert testimony rather than sensitizing them to the validity of the research presented at trial. Further, while the improvements tested in this study may have potential to assist jurors in making scientifically sound decisions, more research is needed to further test and refine these improvements.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Social psychology;
Psychology;
Experiments;
Law
Classification
0451: Social psychology
0623: Psychology
0623: Experiments
0398: Law
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Psychology; Expert testimony; Junk science; Juror; Scientific reasoning
Title
Evaluating and improving the opposing expert safeguard against junk science
Author
Levett, Lora Mary
Number of pages
324
Publication year
2005
Degree date
2005
School code
1023
Source
DAI-B 66/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780542332746, 0542332744
Advisor
Kovera, Margaret Bull
University/institution
Florida International University
University location
United States -- Florida
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3190955
ProQuest document ID
305378679
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305378679
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